April 26, 2009 (Uxbridge, ON) – Just two weeks after the Road Ontario Cup schedule kicked off in tremendous fashion, the Ontario Cup XC season made its anticipated debut at the ever-popular Mansfield Outdoor Centre. Ontario Cup XC Organizer Chico Racing and its phenomenal staff were all out in force along with hundreds of eager cross-country riders ready to take on the infamous course and get the season underway.
Friday was a great day with the course in superb condition; the Chico crew had even mentioned that they were surprised that the leaves never fall on the trail! The course was fast and smooth with a couple of fun downhill sections and a few tough little climbs mid course. The weather forecast for Saturday was warm and clear with some rain the afternoon”¦and did it rain!!
The course was slammed by a downpour, which continued overnight and into the morning of race day on Sunday making the course much more slippery than on Friday and Saturday. Some of the riders were thinking that sections of the course might be to tough in the conditions but true to their word (The Chico crew) the course was actually pretty good with some sections even remaining dry throughout the day. These fellas know their race course and overall the course was in pretty good shape considering the weather.
In the early races the action was pretty intense and you could see some the riders that had been doing their training programs”¦ and some that might be starting their program as we speak. Everyone had a great time and plenty of laughs and smiles were seen on the course. And the best part for all those people is that the next race is in two weeks so a chance to feel the burn all over again.
The one category that gets more competitive each year is Cadet Men. A few years ago there were maybe two or three Men that could win this category on any given day. Not now”¦there are at least five or six riders that have a shot of winning a cadet race and this is very encouraging for the future of XC in Ontario. Winning the Cadet race was Daniel Varga followed by Bretton Matthews, both of these guys from the Jetpower team, rounding out the podium was Preston Wagler from 2 Wheel Express.
In the afternoon races the heat was on for sure starting with the Junior/Cadet Women’s category. This class is so strong at the moment with Laura Bietola (3 Rox), Natasha Oldcorn (Jetpower), Emily Fisher (Cycle Solutions/Angry Johnny’s ) and Cayley Brooks (Trek Hardwood) all competing hard for the title this year. Laura opened up a bit of a lead but Natasha kept the gap tight with some great climbing in the latter stages. Laura took the win and will try to repeat at Albion in 2 weeks. Emily was third.
Junior Men started super fast with the Mitchell Bailey (Jetpower), Tyson Wagler (2 Wheel Express) and Kevin Massicotte (Cyclepath Markham) jumping out front and taking it to the field on the very first climb. At one point during the second lap Mitch starting working his way through the Elite Men’s field and would have got himself into a top 10 spot in the Elite Men’s category. When it was all said and done it was Mitch and Tyson that ran away with the show and this is a good sign of things to come in 2009 for this pair. Tyson is once again chasing a spot for MTB Worlds and Mitch will be in the hunt as well. Steven Noble (Jetpower) had a late last lap surge to overtake Massicotte for third place.
The Elite Women’s field was a little smaller than 2008 with three of Ontario’s Elite women away in Germany competing at World Cup #2 but this didn’t slow down the others as the race is still on for the leaders jersey. Kaitlin Michener (Cyclepath) took it to the field on lap 1 and continued her good early season form with a very strong first lap. Mandy Dreyer was keeping close until KK broke away with a nice gap on Lap 3 to win the race. Also an impressive result for Kristen Lake of Sweet Pete’s to finish second in Elite Women. On another note Emily Batty (Trek) won her first U23 World Cup on Sunday. That announcement was made on Sunday and it was a great moment for lots of people at the race. Especially for all the Junior athletes that know that anything is possible if you work hard enough.
In the final race of the day it was a great 5-way battle between Peter Glassford (Trek), Eric Batty(Trek), Mark Batty (Planet Energy), Michael Mitchnick (Trek) and Andrew Watson (Norco). With Derek Zandstra, Mike Garrigan and Adam Morka missing from this field, when they return, it promises to be one of the best seasons ever in the Elite men’s category. These five went toe-to-toe for four laps until something had to give and on lap 5 it was Mark Batty, Peter Glassford and Eric Batty who broke away and opened up a small gap on Michael and Andrew. As they came to the finish it was Mark that pushed past Peter for the win and capped of a pretty good weekend for the Batty family.
Despite the weather this was one of the most exciting O-Cups in recent memory and lots of fun was had. Results will be posted soon. See everyone in two weeks at Albion.
The OCA would like to once again thank Chico Racing, the Mansfield Outdoor Centre, all the clubs and teams who came out in force as well as the over 800 dedicated riders, volunteers, friends and family who made this event truly special and hopefully a small peak into what we can expect this season.
Full results here.
1. Kaitlin Michener (Cyclepath)
2. Kristen Lake
3. Mandy Dreyer
1. Mark Batty (Planet Energy)
2. Peter Glassford (Trek)
3. Eric Batty (Trek)
1. Laura Bietola (3 Rox)
2. Natasha Oldcorn (Jetpower)
3. Emily Fisher (Cycle Solutions/Angry Johnny’s )
1. Mitchell Bailey (Jetpower)
2. Tyson Wagler (2 Wheel Express)
3. Steven Noble (Jetpower)
1. Daniel Varga (Jetpower)
2. Bretton Matthews (Jetpower)
3. Preston Wagler (2 Wheel Express)